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Dumbest Fish Keeping Mistakes
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Doc Daneeka

Joined: 01 Nov 2007
Location: BC, Canada - I Love Skiing!

PostPosted: 2008.09.04(Thu)17:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ummm... Wow... Why oh why? Shocked


Thanks for the avatar and sig Jun!
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Joined: 23 Apr 2007
Location: northern Alberta

PostPosted: 2008.09.15(Mon)17:57    Post subject: SUPER RANT: my bewildering fishkeeping blunder spectacular! Reply with quote

^thesis statement^

whew boy, where do I start...

Long long ago I had an old 10 gallon tank, and a really old 20 gallon tank. I bought (over the years) dozens of fishes and cleaning the tank involved catching all the fish and putting them into a bucket, scrubbing all the decor and "gravel (blue with the odd pink one) with vinegar. Then we would rinse it out and put everything back in without conditioner. I bought three or four Columbian Shark Catfish over a period of time for the 20 gallon, and kept them with goldfish and pairs of various tetras/minnows/ect. I also had 2 tinfoil barbs and both lasted more than 4 years in deplorable conditions. I had a siamese algae eater since day one and he lived to be 7 years old... somehow. We bought a siphon about 3 years ago from now, so the ammonia didn't spike every change.


Later on in life (2 years ago) I got a BEAUTIFUL 70 GALLON TANK WOW! We had moved from a town to where I am now and kept the 20 gallon tank. At the time there was one of the tinfoils (he was 5-6 years old at the time) a single zebra danio, a solitary white cloud mountain minnow, and a lonely Head and Tail Light Tetra, and a 5 inch unidentified brown pleco. The tinfoil got hungry while we were away and ate the 3 solitary minnows. At this time, thankfully, we did weekly water changes.


...So we filled it up and let it sit for three days. Then I put the pleco in there. I had in there at that point, the water was pure white and visibility was 3 inches. He died over night. Sad Then I got a book on Aquarium fish and heard about cycling. Then we siphoned out a lot of water and added 3 baby common goldfish. They sat in there for a week or so without dying. Then we were all like "YAY it's Cycled!" We added blue gravel and a few plastic plants...And bought 3 Bala sharks, 3 black moors, 2 upside down catfish, a blue gourami and 8 neon tetras and an electric blue Crayfish. We moved our old tinfoil barb into the large tank, and replaced him with the gourami, catfish and neon tetras. He swam around excited and happy, finally free from confinement, and chilled with the Bala sharks for a bit. Then, he decided to nip at the moors. So we switched him into the tiny tank again and he sulked...


But, the barb's damage had already been done, he escaped the plague of ich he brought upon the moors. We left for a few days and come back to a massive outbreak of disease. The black moors tried to lounge on the surface, but kept getting pushed away by the superpowered filter. So, we did the logical thing: unplugged it for a few days while we treated the fish with Ich medicine. Thanks to my friend the internet, we relocated the crayfish before adding the medacine. The bala sharks started tipping upward and then died. "Maybe they are fragile" we thought. Then the goldfish started to go. One by one...until all six were gone.


We wondered why the GOURAMI was the only one left after a few days... we put in the medacine! HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN! So after the white spots had vanished from her body, we waited a few days and "Iron" the Tinfoil barb frolicked in vast open spaces (he was around 6 inches long) and we thought OH NO we have 2 fish in a 70 gallon tank! So we all go out to the store. We got 2 Columbian shark catfish because they are cute. We got 2 "iridescent sharks" which were actually debawii glass catfish. We got 6 tiny cute baby tinfoil barbs so that "Iron" (Fe) wasn't alone. My aquarium book said barbs were social.

The baby tinfoil barbs spread terror, nipping at the poor gourami. The crayfish had molted twice, but he was a pain to feed because those little tinfoil barbs ate all the bottom feeder pellets. One day the crayfish came out during his molt. He got killed. We bought a new HUGE crayfish. He was almost 7 inches long and brought fear to all of our hearts. Then we found out about forums. Apparently our huge red cray had to be almost 3 years old if he was that big. He died a few weeks later. The water quality was actually quite good at this point. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 15ish nitrate. Age was the only factor.


OK so I find out my tank is overstocked to nightmarish levels, thanks to my friend the Internet. I try to send back ALL 7 of my tinfoil barbs but the LFS said NO RETURNS AFTER 24 HOURS. So I was stuck with them and tried to convince my parents to get another HUGER tank. It didn't work, they said I was being ungrateful and selfish.



The Columbian Shark Catfish died somehow because they are a fragile species... adding a few teaspoons of salt every week didn't help them out as much as originally thought. The LFS stopped stocking "debauwii cats" and they died of loneliness. My bro bought a 30 gallon tank and it was not covered with calcium deposits like the old 20. We put a black moor, a red capped oranda and 2 commons in there. This time we cycled it properly so nothing bad happened. So we moved again and had a lot of stuff to get through. All the fish were in one of two containers. There was a lot of stuff to go through. The fish were in there for a couple hours, packed in 15 gallon tubs with no aeration. Guess what happened: the baby tinfoil barbs started to get belly up. That is when I had the first chance to check on them. We all panicked and shoved an aeration tube into there but it was too late for four of them. "Iron", the one that was now 7 years old, didn't get killed in the carnage. I loved those little guys even though I knew I couldn't keep them to maturity. Then my dad got me two more little baby tinfoil barbs, even littler than the original six, and four rosy barbs. Then my brother thought "Gee there's a lot of space cleared up; I'll go buy 2 blood parrot cichlids and an oscar" So he did.


I got angry but then got happy again while we did extra large water changes. The blood parrots started picking on the oscar (now named "Jimmy")along with all the other fish, so we gave them away to a good home. During the water changes we ran out of conditioner. I was worried sick, for good reason: another victim was claimed, a tinfoil barb. That left 4, If I counted right. Jimmy killed a rosy barb but we thought he was just biting it's body (it didn't fit in his mouth, not even close) But after the 2nd one, I KNEW SOMETHING had to be done.

Skip foreword again. You'll notice that the Upside down catfish were only mentioned once: nothing bad happened to them! Something bad happened to the Red-capped oranda though: he died mysteriously about 10 months ago.


But now, all is well, I haven't lost or bought a fish for a real long time. (whew) I still have IRON THE BARB and he is over 7 years old...(miraculously) I lost count. He is 8 inches long and is my AVATAR PICT. Still scarred and stunted from his dismal past. Now I have 4 tinfoil barbs,(all 8 inches) and an oscar (Jimmy!) in the 72 and 2 black moors and my 2 upside down catfish in the 30. The only problem is, my brother went to collage and left me with the aftermath of disasters. So I am stuck with these guys wether the tank is stocked properly or not. My brother was obsessed with Black moors for some reason. I plan to replace the awful blue gravel in both tanks, and in the main I am going to put sand. I am also going to get a few more Upside down catfish (but I am now afraid of buying fish) If I was allowed, I would put my Catfish in their own 20 gallon planted species tank.

Flame away ! ...I was a little reluctant posting this.
Like a bomb!
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Location: bedford, virginia

PostPosted: 2008.09.15(Mon)20:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't feel too bad seds.. as I was reading, it brought back memories I'm not proud of either (maybe I'll share them some other time;). You are seemingly younger than me so at least you're learning early which is great. I guess in a family-tank situation you should lay down some rules since you know the most.

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Joined: 05 Jun 2007
Location: Berkshire, England

PostPosted: 2008.09.16(Tue)5:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

Almost all of us have made mistakes along the way - the important thing is learning from them.

When I got my first very own tank, my stocking was OK as I'd read up online, but my understanding of cycling was "let the tank run with water in it for a week". So, I set up the tank, added substrate, filter, heater, bogwood, and a few plants (nowhere near enough for a silent cycle) and then got fish a week later.

I did have a faulty test kit (constant 0 readings for everything) so when I started skipping water changes because my gourami was bubble nest building, and adding new fish sooner than I should have, I thought it was OK because the water quality was good. I then went away for a week and came back to sick/dying fish.

My rasboras lasted through everything, though have now been sold to someone else who was buying the tank, but I lost both dwarf gouramis, and a giant oto, and had to return my bristlenose pleco to the store due to enormous waste production
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Joined: 22 Feb 2008
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: 2008.09.16(Tue)7:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently remembered an incident that happened at the LFS where I worked when I was younger. We had a new junior high school kid filling in on the weekends. He had almost no experience. I was supposed to keep an eye on him and "train" him. On a particularly busy weekend before the holidays, a visibly irate man came into the store with a dead Yellow Tang and a dead Lionfish that he had purchased from us the day before. As it turns out, the high school kid recommended these fish for the guy's tropical 10 gal. tank.

We had to refund his money and I got the blame for not watching the kid more closely (in fact, I think that I might have been docked some pay). I'm sure that I just assumed that he knew the difference between tropical and marine fish tanks.

I certainly learned from that one.
You're gonna need a bigger boat...
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Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Location: Wisconsin, U.S.A.

PostPosted: 2008.09.16(Tue)7:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

Topper wrote:
On a particularly busy weekend before the holidays, a visibly irate man came into the store with a dead Yellow Tang and a dead Lionfish that he had purchased from us the day before. As it turns out, the high school kid recommended these fish for the guy's tropical 10 gal. tank.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Laughing Laughing Laughing

I feel sorry for the fish, but Laughing Laughing Laughing !

This one is the winner, by far! Though I don't see as how it's Topper's fault at all. I don't think you should've been docked pay. I think the one who hired the dumb kid should've docked his _own_ pay! LOL!
Dumpster Tank
Nano Fish
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Joined: 05 May 2007

PostPosted: 2008.09.17(Wed)16:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I've got a good one... or bad, depending on how you look at it. I was doing a 50% water change on my 12 gallon saltwater aquapod, and was attempting to pour the replacement water into the back compartment so as to not disturb my bubble coral. Of course, I overshot when pouring, and about 2 gallons of salt water landed directly into the electrical outlet situated behind the tank!!! The electrical fire started almost immediately, and I freaked and sprinted out of the room, to go shut off the power... There's still a burn mark, even though we painted over it and replaced the cover for the outlet... Shocked Shocked Shocked
I'm not a pessimist; I'm a realist who lives in a world that sucks.
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Joined: 02 Oct 2008
Location: Florida

PostPosted: 2008.10.05(Sun)22:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for that story, Sacrophyton. I just got a 12g Aquapod and I was thinking 'wonder if I can just dump the water in the back compartment, so the sand doesn't stir up everywhere?'

I'm sure my parents would have loved hearing about how I need money to pay for damages to my wall as a result of changing the water in my fishtank >>; I'm glad this thread is here XD
Koi happiness
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Joined: 19 Oct 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

PostPosted: 2008.11.10(Mon)10:41    Post subject: Talk about disasters! Reply with quote

My LFS haha if you even could call it that, told me to cycle my tank 24 hours before adding fish. I didn't look on this site until after I bought my fish. In that 5 hour cycled 29 Gallon tank (didn't listen to her), I put:

2 - Albino Red-Fin Sharks
2 - Bala Sharks
2 - Red-Fin Sharks
1 - Pleco

I'm still within the first month of this tank and already know what a HUGE MISTAKE I had made! Ammonia levels are still very high and I'm having to do water changes super frequently! I've gotten rid of one albino and one bala (had to euth the bala, ammonia poisoning combined with ick). Plan on returning the pleco and the bala and 1 normal red fin today. I've officially joined this Tank Disaster club with my first real tank. Man, wish I would have read through this before buying my tank and fish. Would have helped immensely!
So many fish, so little time...
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Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Location: Milford Michigan

PostPosted: 2008.11.10(Mon)16:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

lets see......

Buying a 15 gallon tank, and getting, a jack dempsey, an oscar, a jewl cichlid, a pleco, a firemouth, and two mbunas, and wondering why they died Confused
God created all the fish in the sea, he just gave some more than others, cichlids rule!

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